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Any experience with Saba Halal Live Poultry [Oakland]

I noticed the sign for this place a few weeks ago, as it's right on the route from 880 to Alameda. The sign shows a wide variety of food animals, basically everything smaller than a cow (sheep, goat, poultry, rabbits) and it's open to the public. I finally stopped in today. Yup, lots of cages of live chickens of various varieties. Some live ducks. Some birds that looked too big to be quail -- guinea fowl? Man walking out carrying two bags with chickens sticking out feet first -- presumably you pick your bird and they slaughter using the halal method. I didn't see a price list.

I consider myself an unethical carnivore, because even though no one enjoys meat more than I do, I don't like to think about animals being killed, and I don't think I could do it myself. So basically, I found it somewhat disturbing (and smelly) and didn't stick around. Anyone else checked it out?

Saba Live Poultry
845 Kennedy St.
(continuation of the 23rd Ave. exit off 880 south)

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  1. Are the chickens also dressed or just slaughtered and you're expected to do the rest yourself?

    11 Replies
    1. re: Melanie Wong

      I have no idea. There was no signage at all, just a service window in the back. And I only saw the feet of the chickens that the guy had purchased. FWIW, despite the fact that it's halal, the handful of customers I saw were all Asian (uh, East Asian, not South Asian).

      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        I had expected that Chinese customers would find this place. A freshly killed chicken is highly prized and there are no longer any places in SF Chinatown that perform this service. I don't know about in Oakland.

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          Yeah, I posted here in hopes that someone less squeamish than I would do a more thorough investigation of their offerings. Although I don't think I would pick something live to be killed, presumably the mammal offerings (except maybe the rabbits) are already dead.

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            that's a shame that chinatown doesn't have that any more. when did that happen and was it because some sort of health code?

            1. re: ckshen

              I think that was the problem. This place is in an industrial area rather than a congested mixed-use area like Chinatown.

              1. re: ckshen

                The density of PETA protestors on the ground in SF might have something to do with it also.

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  Prices in the beginning for the poultry (excluding the Quails and Guinea) ranged from $7-$10 and it was buy 5 and get 1 free. Now since they started getting more business they have raised the prices to $10-$14 each and I think only have the buy 5 get 1 free on selected chickens.

                  They'll clean and process the livestock any way you want free of charge. Or you can opt to take them and home and do the deed yourself.

                  In addition to chickens they do have Ducks, Geese/Goose(?), Quails, Guinea Fowl, and Rabbits.

                  I don't recommend going there unless it's really necessary....

                  1. re: i5683u

                    Thanks for the info. Certainly it would be one of the few (maybe the only) places in the area where you can get fresh goose.

              2. re: Melanie Wong

                I'm sorry I forgot the name, but there is a new live poultry joint on the north side of Broadway between Stockton and Powell that offers live poultry in the back and cleaned in the front. I saw "regular" looking birds and black skinned too.

                1. re: little big al

                  If you investigate further, I'd be interested to know if on-site, to-order slaughter is available. Ming Kee Game Birds on Grant has live poultry for sale, as well as fully dressed, but doesn't sacrifice them on site any more.

                  1. re: little big al

                    It's called King Poultry & Produce, and I'm not able to find any references to it on the web. Thanks for spotting it. Here's my post,
                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/915128

            2. The original comment has been removed
              1. I've bought chickens twice now. I guess they have a couple different types, but language is kind of an issue. I settled on the one the worker said "all the chinese guys get" You pick an animal, they kill it and dress it and 10 minutes later they bring out a bag and then you pay.

                Similar in texture to the yellow/$10 chickens you get in chinatown. But bigger. And seemingly less "dense"

                In addition to the chickens, they had roosters ($10), guinea hen ($20), pigeons ($10), geese ($30), rabbits ($20) and ducks ($20) I've seen the black skin soup chickens and quail (i think he said $3) there too. Not everything is there all the time though. I went in to the back walk-in (have to ask) and they had some partial carcasses of lamb ($6) and beef (?) hanging

                They said the chickens come from Los Angeles and the geese are from San Diego. (I'm guessing they got a ride on a truck rather than flying)

                I don't know the details about raising (i.e. humane, free range, pastured, organic, etc) of the meat here but would like to find out. I'm not sure if the workers know either. The times I've been I've only seen Chinese people and Vietnamese people

                The place is neat and clean! They have to meet standards set by the Alameda County Health Dept too. Sure, the birds are smelly, but so are dogs and cats.

                Edit: How long is one supposed to rest meat after it has been slaughtered?

                2 Replies
                1. re: thefundamentals

                  Thanks for the info. I didn't mean to imply it wasn't sanitary -- with all those animals, there's going to be a smell; the facilities looked clean enough.

                  $30 for a fresh goose is a good deal. I'll have to get over my squeamishness and try one.

                  1. re: thefundamentals

                    Everything I needed to know about raising chickens, I got it from: http://www.backyardchickens.com.